Musings of a Gaijin MD

Life in Japan as a Foreign Doctor

Drift Ice February 7, 2012

Filed under: Sightseeing — GaijinMD @ 10:28 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

One of the more well-known activities in Hokkaido includes making a trek to the north/northeastern part of the island to look at ryuhyou, or drift ice.  Apparently, the Russian Amur River’s freshwater freezes in the winter and floats down the Okhotsk Sea where they can be viewed at Hokkaido’s coastline, one of the southernmost points you can observe them before they melt further south.

Well, I participated in said activity by way of bus.  After several hours, we finally arrived on the coast and boarded the Garinko, a boat that took passengers out to the sea to view the drift ice.  This boat was an icebreaker that could go through ice up to 0.5 meters thick.

The entire experience was interesting although I was disappointed not to have seen more than 4-5 pieces of drift ice; it may have been a little too early in the season.  Another damper during this time was my seasickness despite having taken medicine for it beforehand; needless to say, my entire attention was focused on trying to keep my stomach contents where they belonged.

Anyways, if given the chance, I may not necessarily go again although I may consider joining a tour that allows people to walk on the drift ice and dive (wetsuits available).

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